Microsoft Pledges Support for HTML5, H.264

By on May 2, 2010
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Redmond giant says its upcoming IE9 will support H.264 playback only.

This is a bit of news that could spell the end for the Ogg Theora video standard, whom Firefox and Opera has shown support for but has not been widely accepted. For Adobe, this could be another big blow. But for the H.264 supporters, this could be the final seal over which video standard will be supported by HTML5.

Microsoft in their company blog announced on Thursday that IE 9 will support H.264 for HTML video only. Microsoft calls the H.264 an “excellent format” and “industry standard” and sees it as the most user-friendly and widely accepted platform.

H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support (e.g. a PC with Windows 7). Recently, we publicly showed IE9 playing H.264-encoded video from YouTube.  You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here. For all these reasons, we’re focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264.

Other codecs often come up in these discussions. The distinction between the availability of source code and the ownership of the intellectual property in that available source code is critical. Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA.   The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press.  Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.

Source: MSDN Blog


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Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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